Can I Get a Pap Test While on My Period?

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If your menstrual flow is heavy, it’s best to wait until after your period has ended to get a Pap test. Menstrual blood can obscure the visibility of the cervical cells collected in the sample, which can lead to inaccurate results.


But if you’re only spotting, “It’s probably fine to have your Pap,” according to One Medical Group provider Bernadette Donovan, NP. “There’s a chance the test may need to be redone but it’s a small one, so it’s ultimately up to your comfort level.”

If you’re considering rescheduling your Pap, there’s one more consideration: The Pap test guidelines have changed and you may not actually be due for your next test. According to the 2012 guidelines released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), women between 21 and 65 who have never had an abnormal Pap should receive a Pap test only once every three to five years.

In other words, you may be able to skip the Pap altogether. If you have questions specific to your personal history, we’re happy to help. Please call our office and we’ll connect you with a member of our medical team.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.